COVID-19 could crush global trade

Aerial shot of a massive cargo ship arriving in the Port of Long Beach, California.

Investment bank Goldman Sachs has predicted that the COVID-19, or coronavirus, pandemic could damage the global economy more than the financial crisis of 2008.

In a report to its clients, quoted by Reuters, the bank says global gross domestic product (GDP) could fall by 1% as a consequence of the pandemic and, more importantly, governments’ attempts to contain it.

The pandemic has, as of 24 March 2020, killed 16,568 people worldwide. In total there are 382,126 since the outbreak in the Chinese river port city of Wuhan in November 2019.

It has caused severe congestion and delay at some of the biggest ports in the world, such as Los Angeles.

Another way which COVID-19 will damage the global economy is the response from governments to stop its spread, but this will mean slower cargo traffic.

“The coronacrisis — or more precisely, the response to that crisis — represents a physical (as opposed to financial) constraint on economic activity that is unprecedented in postwar history,” Goldman Sachs said, alluding to the drop in goods transporation.

Reuters says the bank goes on to predict that GDP will drop in many advanced economies. The US, for example, will see its GDP fall by 24% in the second quarter of 2020, three times the post-war record.

For more information on how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected ports, read this exclusive Port Technology International (PTI) insight.

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